2024 Cindy Harrington Heart & Mind Award Recipient

April Yang

April Yang

April Yang is the Curriculum Specialist at Boys and Girls Club Child Development Center in Woodland Park, Anchorage. She started out as a part-time substitute teacher for Kids Corps Head Start while working two other jobs at the age of 18. April has had a passion for teaching and leading others for as long as she can remember but hadn’t realized that working at Kids Corps would be the catalyst in starting her teaching career in 2018.

April’s lifelong desire to teach led her to graduate high school early so she could pursue her associate degree from Kansas, where she graduated in 2022 with a 4.0 GPA. She managed this, all while being a full-time teacher, mother, wife, and the primary source of income for her family. April later moved on to becoming a teacher at Cook Inlet Head Start and challenged herself to learn and teach more about their amazing Native culture.

Later becoming a single mom to her two beautiful boys (Haven and Heiro), this brought April many challenges that she never thought she would be able to overcome alone. The Boys and Girls Club Child Development Center offers free child care for employees. This generous benefit was her saving grace, as it allowed her to continue her education in the field while also having her boys nearby. In less than a year, April has moved from being a teacher, to becoming their Assistant Director at the age of 23, and now taking over the position of Curriculum Specialist – a position that hasn’t been filled in over five years.

April’s nominator says “I just want April to know how much she means to so many families, teachers, agencies, and Anchorage schools. I don’t ever want her to think she didn’t do enough, because she’s dedicated so much more than most could. For how much pain and suffering she went through as a young, single mom, she never allowed it to affect the love and passion she has for the Early childhood education field. I truly appreciate you all for giving me this opportunity to tell you how lucky we are to have someone like April in our field of work. We have so many other staff that can vouch for how amazing April truly is.”

Being an energetic and creative person with a positive mindset has helped April grow and strive to make learning a fun, engaging, and memorable experience for all of her students and staff. She gets the opportunity to bring out her inner child every day and help the children in her care grow and freely express themselves. “It’s their smile, their laugh, their joyful development, and their personalities that will be forever engrained in my heart.”